Google Invests in Real News, While Meredith Lays off 1,200

Google Boosts Real News (And That’s Partly Old News)

Google announced the Google News Initiative, which is more like a set of initiatives for boosting quality journalism and combating the fake stuff, and which isn’t necessarily 100% new in itself. Google has already been working on sorting real news from misinformation during breaking news events and elections, and the company has taken the opportunity to remind us of that, while announcing a partnership with the Poynter Institute, Stanford University and the Local Media Association to aid in media literacy efforts for younger users. It’s also launching Subscribe With Google, which lets users subscribe to multiple news outlets at once, and the company says it’s training its algorithms to identify users who may be more likely to subscribe (so they can be targeted with special offers). Google says it’ll devote $300 million to these efforts in the next three years. Say what you will about good intentions—there’s a bit of a “company store” flavor to this approach, but we’ll see how it plays out.

Meredith Announces Time Inc. Layoffs

Following its acquisition of Time Inc., Meredith Corp. has laid off 200 employees and says it will let another 1,000 go in the next 10 months. That large number may come as a surprise, even if the act itself is not: Meredith is reviewing its entire portfolio and is getting rid of assets that aren’t essential to its business. Part of that means, according to Meredith CEO Tom Harty, looking into selling off Time, Sports Illustrated, Fortune and Money, in order to streamline its ad business and target audiences more efficiently. “We believe each brand is better suited for success with a new owner,” Harty said. Meredith has already sold off the UK divisions of Time and ad tech company Viant, as well as the Essence and Golf magazine brands.

Recent Vox Layoffs Explained

You probably remember Vox also laid off a bunch of people in February—50 people, so not as many in total as Meredith is talking about, but about 5% of its workforce regardless. Now, in an interview with MediaShift, Vox Media Publisher Melissa Bell has explained the company’s strategy behind the restructuring: they’ll be going harder in podcasting, partnering with more linear broadcasters, moving farther into ecommerce, and exploring more tech partnerships with other publishers. She also emphasized Vox still has an interest in social video, despite dialing back its efforts there—it’s more that the company is looking for more efficient ways to monetize, and Facebook isn’t it right now.

Programmatic CPMs Rising

Now some good news: eMarketer looked at the prices on a bunch of different ad platforms and determined programmatic CPMs have gone up “meaningfully” in desktop, mobile, mobile app and video through the course of 2017. How much they rose varies—some sources showed an increase of about 1%, others 10% or higher. But eMarketer’s take is that this trend will continue through 2018. It could be a coincidence, but AdMonsters’ take is that this means ads.txt is doing what it’s supposed to do—boosting buyers’ confidence in the open programmatic market.